GOLIAD – Chris Ulcak, the new assistant superintendent for the Goliad Independent School District, has a simple criteria for choosing to come to work for GISD.
“I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t have confidence in the schools,” the 52-year-old says, “If you don’t send your kids to the school in which you work, then maybe you shouldn’t work there.”
When school opens the Ulcak children – Rebecca, seventh grade, and Matthew, fourth grade – will be GISD students.
The GISD board hired Ulcak earlier this year from the Nursery ISD where he was both principal and superintendent.
He is the first GISD assistant superintendent in more than a decade.
He comes with almost a quarter of a century in education administration neatly compiled in a three-page, single-spaced resume.
Nursery ISD, however, is pre-K through grade five.
As his children grew, Ulcak and his wife, Maria, knew it was time to seek a new place.
Ulcak and GISD Superintendent Davis Plymale share some 15 years of experiences. Therefore, out of 1,200 school districts in the state, Goliad seemed a logical choice.
“I wanted my children to have that small-town experience – not the tiny school experience,” he explains.
“I went school shopping. I’m not going to call it anything else and, you know, Plymale’s got a great reputation. The district has the pride in the school and in the community that I was looking for.”
Specifically, in addition it its reputation, it was the perfect size.
“Where you have one elementary school, one middle school and one high school, your kids get to know most of the students on campus. They’re going to know everybody in their graduating class.
“The district is big enough that you have a choice in classes, but it’s small enough that you know everyone. And your teachers know you. You go to school in a big district and your teachers see you once a day,” he says.
Ulcak is new enough on the job that he hasn’t yet unpacked all the boxes in his office. A wind chime belonging to the last occupant still is thumbtacked to the wall.
Inside the boxes? Books.
“I read too much,” he admits.
“My task is to continue to make this school district go forward” he says, “to make it efficient, effective and to make all my decisions for the kids. I’m motivated to make sure that they are the best that they can be.”
“If you’re in education, you better be optimistic.”
An indication of his determination is his flat announcement about his plans.
“I plan to retire here.”
Bill Clough is the Goliad editor at the Advance-Guard Press and can be reached at 361-645-2330, or at goliad@mySouTex.com.